Student Essay

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NUBIA THROUGH THE AGES The earliest of the Nubian cultures (the A-Group and C-Group) were located in northern Nubia. Until recently it was thought that A-Group people were semi-nomadic herdsmen. However, new research suggests that a line of kings 1ived in Qustul in northern Nubia as early as, or perhaps even earlier than, the first pharaohs of Egypt. The people of these early cultures buried their dead in stone-lined pit graves, accompanied by pottery and cosmetic articles. At this time, Nubia was known to the Egyptians as "Ta Sety," the "Land of the Bow," because of the fame of Nubian archers. By Egypt's Old Kingdom (if not earlier in the 2nd Dynasty), the Egyptians founded a settlement at Buhen which apparently was an important site for copper production. Later, Khufu opened diorite quarries to the west of Toshka and south of Buhen, while other quarrying expeditions were sent south above the Second Cataract. The 4th Dynasty also saw the establishment of a regular messenger service between the First and Second Cataracts. By the reign of Sahure in the early 5th Dynasty, the Egyptians began trading with the Land of Punt , which was accessible only by sailing along the seacoast on the Red Sea. Expeditions to Punt began by sailing upriver to Coptos, then caravaning eastward through the Wadi Hammamat or the Wadi Gasus to the seacoast. There, the expeditions built ships and embarked on the sea voyage south. While the Egyptians did not penetrate Punt eastward from the Nile in Upper Nubia, apparently some Puntite goods and pygmies were trans-shipped to Egypt via a circuitous overland route through Nubia. Despite that Buhen was abandoned in the 5th Dynasty and the diorite quarries near Toshka were closed, Egypt maintained its hold over Nubia in the late Old Kingdom. In the early 6th Dynasty, Egyptians were recruiting Nubian mercenaries into the Egyptian army.

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